The Book, the Reader and the Modern Breakthrough
From the late 1860s the Scandinavian book market experienced a rapid development and expansion which coincided with the so-called “Modern Breakthrough”. The aim of the project is to investigate this growth and to try to identify the readers of the new literature – focusing especially on the different aspects of the book trade: publishers and distributors, as well as booksellers, libraries and reading societies.
The project seeks to shed light on the following questions:
- How did the reading differ according to gender, nationality, geography and social groups?
- How did the book collections of the lending libraries differ from the book collections of the reading societies – and from the public libraries?
- How was the new literature of the period distributed between and within the Scandinavian countries?
- Which literature was translated and why?
Publishers’ archives (mainly Gyldendals’ and Bonniers’) are a central resource in our research. Other important sources consist of correspondences between authors, publishers and booksellers, as well as catalogues from reading societies, public libraries and lending libraries.
Comprehensive description of the project
The project comprises two parallel PhD projects, one focusing on Sweden and Finland, the other on Denmark and Norway.